Early 00s Feeling

In the early 2000s, there was this feeling – which has been well documented by many people much smarter than me – that the technological changes of the 90s would result in us all rapidly ascending into some sort of world slightly better than our own. (ed. note: hilarious)

This also informed a visual and audio aesthetic that particularly permeated games and tech ads of the time, of which (at the risk of sounding like an Ernest Cline protagonist) I was a voracious consumer. Once you’ve played as much beatmania IIDX as I have, there’s a certain kind of sound that just feels instantly comfy and familiar. Luckily, because it’s 2021, there are plenty of people who’ve grown up in the exact same boat as me, except they’re also musically gifted.

These songs are reminiscent of this time, this feeling, and this pre-rapid ascendance. Enjoy our slightly better world!

8 or 9 of our favorite albums of 2020

“Best of” lists are exhausting and stressful when it’s not your full-time job (eg holy shit there was a new Avalanches album this year???). And, folks, we say a lot of things “are Trash Garbage”, but that ain’t Trash Garbage. Here are some albums that came out in 2020 which resonated with Sammie and Matthew a lot that you probably have already heard about.

Best Album That Sammie Listened to on Repeat For Like Three Months Straight to Cope with 2020

Game Trails – Aukai

Best Album Wistfully Longing for That Time Bernie Won Nevada

N O D R E A M – Jeff Rosenstock

Best Album We Would Have Nominated for “Best Mountain Goats Album” If Getting Into Knives, Songs for Pierre Chuvin, and The Jordan Lake Sessions Had Not Also Come Out This Year

Making a Door Less Open – Car Seat Headrest

Best Mountain Goats Album

Getting Into Knives – The Mountain Goats

Best Album That Sammie Will Point To As Evidence That Sammie Listens To Music Besides Milquetoast Ambient

Blood Rage – NxxxxxS

Best Taylor Swift Album

Punisher – Phoebe Bridgers

Best Album That Made Me Personally Upset That Live Concerts Aren’t Gonna Be a Thing For a Long Time To Come

Color Theory – Soccer Mommy

Best Chill Vibes To Study And Relax To

Folklore – Taylor Swift

Best Album That Matthew Tried To Talk With a Tinder Match About Without Reading The Room Properly

Set My Heart On Fire Immediately – Perfume Genius

Best Album By A Band I Was Really Into In High School, Hasn’t Released An Album Since 2006, and Then Just Came Out of Nowhere With A Weirdly Cohesive New Album And Dropped It Right As The Pandemic Hit

Bad News – Butterfingers

Best Upgrade From Lo-Fi Chill-Hop Beats

Suite for Max Brown – Jeff Parker

Best Soundtrack I Heard in 2020 to the Best TV Show Adaptation I Watched in 2020 of the Best Novel I Read in 2020

Normal People – Stephen Rennicks

Best Cat

my cat

Alternate Reality SimCity 3000 Soundtrack

So, my all-time favorite album is the soundtrack to SimCity 3000.

This sounds like a joke and I have no way to assure you it is not. So instead, I’m going to talk about what I like about it and what I tried to do with this playlist. Also, I think I might talk about Trash Garbage a little, because it’s my blog and I get to put whatever I want here until Matthew removes it during copyediting.

The reason I want to talk about Trash Garbage a bit is that when I sat down to earnestly talk about why I had picked songs out for this playlist I had a fleeting thought of “wow, how unlike this blog this is”. Which is true, but it doesn’t mean that this is out of place. What I liked about Trash Garbage from the inception is that Matthew and I really never had any intention of what this should be. The bulk of our conversations about this blog essentially boil down to one of us saying “this feels pretty Trash Garbage” and the other going “I agree, post it”. It’s that sort of creative freedom that’s actually enabled me to try doing some of this, which I would not have considered otherwise.

Bringing us back to the soundtrack to SimCity 3000, AKA my favorite album. Last year, I went through some personal hardships and needed something that didn’t sound like anything else I was already listening to. I discovered this soundtrack. I’m not really sure how; I think I had listened to other game soundtracks and this came up as related. (ed note but still fuck algorithms don’t forget this.) I didn’t know anything about SimCity (a thing that came up today, when I mentioned that I would post this, was Matthew saying “the description should be like an in-game SimCity notification or something!” to which I responded “I’ve never actually played SimCity”), but somehow found myself charmed by a very optimistic and charming album full of music that I think perfectly matches the idea of what some people endeavor to achieve with ambient music, creating songs that are fundamentally interesting to focus on, but completely capable of blending into the background. I became fascinated with this album, and it started to score every workday, and then eventually started to become the soundtrack to the time I was spending at home.

But obviously at some point you just listen to an album enough that you crave a little variety, and I found myself in the strange position of wanting to listen not to the SimCity 3000 soundtrack, but to music that sounded like the SimCity 3000soundtrack. Upset I couldn’t find those albums readily existing, I started to pull tracks that reminded me of it into a small playlist. Not only does this playlist contain music that simply sounds like SimCity’s soundtrack (“The Sheriff”, “The Mirage”) it also contains works that simply remind me of the plastic utopia of the Sims universe (all the James Ferraro that made it on here) and, finally, songs that the original composer, Jerry Martin, mentioned inspired him when he was composing this soundtrack (“Zombie”, “A Remark You Made”)

It’s obvious that I recommend listening to the original soundtrack as well, but I also feel obligated to point out that Jerry Martin runs his own website where he occasionally makes high-quality downloads of this music available for free. So maybe check that out, if this is your kinda thing.

Spooky Season

Every so often, I get to publish a playlist that was a part of the conception of this blog, which basically means talking with Matthew resulted in a “oh, you want something specifically for the mood you’re in? Lemme throw together a quick playlist” kind of thing. This one was the result of a conversation in which I was bemoaning the lack of appropriate ~Halloween vibes~ after moving to a city where the weather is the exact same all year. Matthew provided a lot of the initial suggestions, and then we spun this out into what it is now, which is a weird playlist hopefully suitable for your Halloween evening.

It also contains the song from the Salad Fingers flash cartoons. So there’s that.

apple picking ~vibes~

A more subjective, sensory one. The sound of the reprieve from the heat, the melancholy of the impending cold, and the post-irony of renting a car and driving upstate to pick apples and hope that you see the changing colors of the trees but will probably not manage to time correctly.

A blend of garage, blues, and indie rock, folk, with a lil bit of pop and hip-hop that I maintain sound inseparable from trying to remember where you stored your sweaters that were unthinkable just a few days ago.

Did you know that Apple Music has a playlist called “Vibes”. Just “Vibes”. What kind of vibes? What are neutral, pure vibes? This is to say that it is perhaps debatable what music is appropriate for apple picking, but this has not stopped Apple from determining what music is appropriate for VIBES.

update: This playlist is supposed to start with Amy Winehouse’s “Valerie (’68 Version)”, which over the years has endlessly gone on and off of Spotify. Sammie and I have real mixed feelings on using Spotify for Trash Garbage! How feasible is a project like Trash Garbage in 2021’s internet not using the most centralized platform available? What compromises must we make to play in this space?

inventing an extradimensional portal

There’s something really striking in a sci fi moment in which a scientist works very hard to create something that’s just slightly unnatural. Something that toys with the very laws of reality as we know it. Setting aside the moral consequences of these scenes (which is par for the course tbh), it is the music in these moments that seems to inspire creativity and fascination in me. This playlist aims to invoke similar feelings of that precipice where the natural laws of the world as we know it are about to change. Jeff Goldblum gif goes here. You know the one.

i can’t really get into twitch streams

sounds like: chill work vibes, a lightly chatty friend you can just put in the corner of your screen and not really pay attention to, a parasocial relationship

my romantic notion of a twitch stream may be more simply just a virtual approximation of a coffee shop (remember those? oh, covid), of working or reading while surrounded by the light conversation and arbitrary behavior of strangers. it doesn’t appear that this is what twitch actually is (since in practice lots of streamers do talk “with” you, reading and reacting to the chat), but this playlist is a musical adaptation of the atmosphere i was hoping for. one of the more literal playlists, the thesis here is slower/chiller work music characterized by the presence of human voices throughout. not vocals (with one or two exceptions), but exploring other ways that voices are used as instruments and woven into music.

pairs well with work that’s going to take a minute, watching someone not totally know where they’re going in dark souls, tuesdays